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Management of internal common areas

  • 25-08-2022 11:25am
    Registered Users Posts: 11

    Hi guys.

    I recently got sale agreed on an apartment. However, in the contract, it claims that the internal common areas of our particular building are not managed by OMC, instead, the owners of the apartments in the building are supposed to take care of/clean/maintain/repair them. It also defines the interior common areas as foundations, hallways, exterior walls, etc.

    After speaking with a current owner, she mentioned that she had the same confusion when she signed the contract. Her solicitor was convinced that the condition was illegal (our solicitor did not say that). In fact, the management company is dealing with problems in the interior areas, such as fixing water leak from the roof.

    What I have done so far are,

    1. ask the management company about this issue, but they refused to give us any information.

    2. Ask the seller's solicitor to raise this issue with the management company. But the seller's lawyer refuses to do so.

    My question is, is this condition really illegal? If so, what should I do now? And if I sign the contract, will this condition be effective?

    Because our surveyor found water leak pattern and cracks on the external wall. So I am concerned that if management company will pay for the repairment fee of those issues.

    Thank you so much.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,227 ✭✭✭Allinall

    Will you have to pay management charges?

    If so, I would look for a copy of the contract between the management company and individual owners, and see what the management company’s obligations are.

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,673 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail

    Did you raise the issue with the sellers solicitor or did your solicitor do this? this is something really only your own solicitor can advise you on.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Ariya_ya

    Thank you for your reply. Yes I do have to pay for the management fee annually and all the owners have been paying for it on time from what I know.

    And I do have the contract. What I said in my post is just what's written in this contract you said. That's why I wanted the seller's solicitor to raise this issue to the management company but the seller's solicitor refused to do so.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Ariya_ya

    Thanks for your reply. I asked my solicitor to raise this issue to the seller's solicitor. I have never talked with the seller's solicitor myself. My solicitor did not say anything about it. What she's doing are merely passing my questions to the seller's solicitor and asking me to decide if I am happy with it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,673 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail

    what is your solicitors opinion of that clause?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Ariya_ya

    Thanks for the reply. My solicitor didn't say anything about it, neither advice nor opinion.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,882 ✭✭✭Caranica

    That sounds totally suss to me. As an owner of an own door unit in a MUD, I have as much a share of the common areas of the shared entrance units as those who own units in the shared entrance blocks. Leaving maintenance and repairs to the relevant units would seriously jeopardise the appearance and structures would potentially devalue properties within the development. It's our Management Company's responsibility.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,603 ✭✭✭dennyk

    I don't think that clause would be illegal, as the MUD Act does specifically allow for it. It would certainly be unusual, however; the reason such common areas are ordinarily owned by and maintained by the OMC is to ensure that they are properly maintained and that problems which could end up affecting multiple units are not left unchecked by a single negligent owner. Ultimately you are a shareholder in the OMC and you would end up paying for any common area maintenance or repairs one way or another, but my concern would be why such a clause exists in that case; I can think of no good reasons for it, but many bad ones. Is the OMC underfunded and can't afford maintenance costs? Are there difficulties with collecting fees from the occupants of your building in particular? Are there known issues or flaws in that particular building that the unit owners in the rest of the development don't want to have to pay for? Such an arrangement is definitely a red flag that something might not be right with this particular development.

    Have you actually asked for your solicitor to weigh in on the matter? They are supposed to be advising you on legal matters, so they should at least be able to outline the legal risks that the particular contract in question might pose for you, even if they don't have enough information to be able to tell you definitively whether you should agree or not.

  • Registered Users Posts: 550 ✭✭✭TheWonderLlama

    it might be poor drafting or similar, in that technically, the owners are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the common areas, but that is usually delegated to the OMC in the lease. The owners agree to give the OMC money to carry out this function.

    that bit (OMC and management charges) seems to be in place. But without seeing the lease in full, it would be very difficult to comment or even guess.

    Obviously, your solicitor is best placed to advise you, if you are unhappy with the advice (or lack of same) being given by your current lawyer, change them pronto. Costs very little but proper advice in this area is very important. Especially the replies the lawyer will get to the MUD queries.

  • Registered Users Posts: 441 ✭✭mvt

    Great to see such informed & interesting answers to a question about buying an apartment or what is actually the case,shares in the Management Company of the apartment in question.

    Proceed very carefully in this case would be my advice.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 260 ✭✭BingCrosbee

    I had a property management company. The PMC are responsible for all internal and external areas hence they have to take out Public Liability Insurance each year to cover this. Look at the original contract they signed with the builder and it will state this. Of course it would be convenient for them to say it is not their responsibility.

  • Registered Users Posts: 260 ✭✭BingCrosbee

    Inter. and exter. Common areas.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Ariya_ya

    Yes that's what I am thinking as well. They shouldn't have simply left that responsibility to the owners.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Ariya_ya

    Thank you very much for your reply.

    I don't think the OMC is underfunded as they have 27,000 in sinking fund. There is no issue of collecting the management fee from our building from what I know, as there are only 4 apartments in our building and I have met and talked with the other three owners. About the issues or flaws of our building, thank you for mentioning it, I will call the management company myself to confirm it.

    The only reason I have known (from another owner in our building) is, there are two blocks in the development and our block was built years after the other one, the owners of the other building were unhappy about the management company giving us the same service as them. Which I think is ridiculous as we pay the same amount of management fee as them.

    I have asked my solicitor about this issue but haven't got any reply.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Ariya_ya

    Thank you for the reply. Poor drafting could be a reason as it's an old development (over 30 years). But shouldn't have they modified the contract if there's anything not correct? I have again raised this issue to my solicitor and asked her advice. If she still cannot give me any helpful information, I will then consider changing them. Thanks for the advice!